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Edutainment failed me

Monday, May 4th, 2015 at 10:09 am - No Comments »

Treasure MathStorm“… it felt like being told you had to eat your vegetables before you could have a single bite of weird, unappealing fruitcake.”

– Aroon Karuna

Many people … look back fondly on legitimately-entertaining educational games like Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? and The Oregon Trail. But the Learning Company games my parents bought me were marketed to and designed for parents and educators, not children. Rather than marrying learning to play, they crudely grafted educational material to rudimentary “game”-like behavior.

For children forced to play such games, it felt like being told you had to eat your vegetables before you could have a single bite of weird, unappealing fruitcake. You’d typically have to suffer through some convoluted fractions or a reading comprehension portion before you could be “rewarded” with a small slice of entertainment. The message ended up being that education was supposed to be a slog, not something you’d want to pursue for its own sake.

[Source: BoingBoing]

 
Dateline: Monday, May 4th, 2015 at 10:09 am - No Comments »
Author: the_handy_vandal
 
 
 
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Deep: a video game for calm, deep breathing

Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 at 9:05 am - No Comments »

“New methods for treating anxiety, trauma and mental illness are emerging at the intersection of games and therapy.” – Laura Hudson

Deep (video game) @ http://owenllharris.com/deep/

Deep, a virtual reality game developed for the Oculus Rift, has set out to do just that. It’s based on the same sort of deep breathing exercises that many anxiety sufferers—and meditation/yoga enthusiasts—are already familiar with, coupled with immersive visuals and audio that make you feel like you’re suspended in a dreamy, underwater world. A belt secured around your body senses when you inhale and exhale, causing you to “rise” and “fall” rhythmically within the water as you explore a “zen garden” of coral and colored lights.

Developer Owen Harris had been using breathing exercises to manage his own anxiety for years, and “when VR arrived… I knew exactly what I wanted to do: I wanted to build something where at the end of a stressful day I could just go to, and it’d become my own little isolation tank,” Harris told Vice. “I was building this thing for myself; it never really occurred to me to be showing it to other people.”

[Source: Laura Hudson @ Boing Boing]

More likes this, please. The world could use more tranquility games, peace games, do-good-deeds games.

 
Dateline: Wednesday, April 1st, 2015 at 9:05 am - No Comments »
Author: the_handy_vandal
 
 
 
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Videogames for Humans

Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 at 6:47 am - No Comments »

Videogames for Humans book coverTwine is a tool for making interactive fiction in the form of web pages.

A new anthology curated by Merritt Kopas called Videogames For Humans “puts Twine authors, literary writers, and games critics into conversation with one another’s work”.

Behind the fluorescent veil of modern big-business video games, a quiet revolution is happening, and it’s centered on a tool called Twine. Taken up by nontraditional game authors to describe distinctly nontraditional subjects—from struggles with depression, explorations of queer identity, and analyses of the world of modern sex and dating to visions of breeding crustacean horses in a dystopian future—the Twine movement to date has created space for those who have previously been voiceless within games culture to tell their own stories, as well as to invent new visions outside of traditional channels of commerce.

Videogames for Humans, curated and introduced by Twine author and games theorist merritt kopas, puts Twine authors, literary writers, and games critics into conversation with one another’s work, reacting to, elaborating on, and being affected by the same. The result is an unprecedented kind of book about video games, one that will jump-start the discussions that will define the games culture of tomorrow.

[Source: Videogames for Humans]

Book Launch Party:

Monday, 4/20/2015 at 7PM
Babycastles, 137 W. 14th St, New York, NY 10011

babycastles.com

See also:

twinery.org

Twine (software) @ Wikipedia

Via Boing Boing.

 
Dateline: Tuesday, March 31st, 2015 at 6:47 am - No Comments »
Author: the_handy_vandal
 
 
 
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Game Analytics From A Game Designer’s Perspective

Monday, March 23rd, 2015 at 7:08 am - No Comments »

“Game analytics are not just about sales. They are about getting a better understanding of our games and of our users. They empower us designers to fix gameplay issues and improve the game’s immersion.”

Game analytics are simply the study of our players’ behaviors using statistics. This expression covers all the types of data you may want to track. Most of the time, we tend to associate them with marketing and monetization. However, those statistics are not only for marketing people or producers!

They are a great learning tool, an occasion to get to better know and understand your audience. Game analytics offer us an opportunity to understand players beyond our subjective interpretation.

Analytics boil down to metrics

A metric is a stream of data that is being tracked over time. Metrics can track anything: average session duration, game uninstalls, player demographics…

There are 4 main categories of metrics:

  • Customer metrics: They correspond to all the data related to the acquisition and retention of customers. They can also be seen as the marketers’ data. Specific metrics in that category include DAU (Daily Active Users), ARPU (Average Revenue Per User).
  • Community metrics: Community metrics focus on the community’s behavior and evolution. They track what happens in your in-game chat for example. All sorts of social interactions fall in that category as well. For instance, both in-game and social network messaging.
  • Performance metrics: Performance metrics track your application’s performances and potential bugs or crashes. Be it a response time from your distant server, the game’s loading duration or framerate at runtime. Anything that can help you to improve your back-end systems.
  • Gameplay metrics: Gameplay metrics record anything that happens inside the game, between the player and the game. I.e. time spent in a given level, how many times the player died. They empower us to estimate the quality of the user’s gameplay experience.

[Nathan Lovato]

 
Dateline: Monday, March 23rd, 2015 at 7:08 am - No Comments »
Author: the_handy_vandal
 
 
 
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Design Ah!

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 at 9:24 am - No Comments »

Design Ah! is a Japanese children’s educational television program.

In 2011, Japan’s NHK television network began broadcasting Design Ah!, a Peabody award-winning children’s educational program that explores different types of creative thinking for viewers of all ages. With an “Ah” that stands for that Ah! moment, as well as for あ, the first character of the Japanese alphabet, the program is full of minimal, rhythmic, well-crafted short clips that don’t shy away from sophistication.

[Source: The Kids Should See This]

http://www.nhk.or.jp/design-ah/

Via Boing Boing: Fun videos teach design concepts to kids.

This may be inspirational for game designers, or fun for their kids, or fun for game designers, or fun for game designers and their kids.

 
Dateline: Tuesday, March 17th, 2015 at 9:24 am - No Comments »
Author: admin
Permalink: Design Ah!
 
 
 
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Shelter 2

Monday, March 16th, 2015 at 7:40 pm - No Comments »

“Things got heavy when I played this animal-mothering game.”

- Leigh Alexander

In 2013 there was a game called Shelter, where you played a badger ushering your cubs to safety from predators and forest fires and other peril. I avoided it, because from what I heard the appeal was supposed to be how bad you felt when one of them inevitably died.

In the just-launched Shelter 2, you now play a mother lynx. You, the player, get to name each of four different-colored kittens — that’s after you guide the expectant mother through the dark, away from the wolves snapping at her heels, to a hilltop den at the base of a tree. If you succeed at raising any of them to adulthood, the game promises, you can then carry on their lineage.

… The very worst part was the day they came out of the den on their own and began to follow me. Just then I remembered the sound of the wolves on the day the babies were born, and nothing could make me continue playing.

Created by Might and Delight Studios. Available on Steam, GOG.com, and Humble Store.

 
Dateline: Monday, March 16th, 2015 at 7:40 pm - No Comments »
Author: the_handy_vandal
Permalink: Shelter 2
 
 
 
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ASCII fluid simulator

Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 at 9:39 am - No Comments »

This ASCII fluid simulator has a game-like quality which someone may find inspiring:

Via Boing Boing.

 
Dateline: Tuesday, March 10th, 2015 at 9:39 am - No Comments »
Author: the_handy_vandal
Categories: Physics
 
 
 
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Unreal Engine 4 Is Now Free

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 7:19 pm - No Comments »

Epic Games recently announced a new business model:

Unreal Engine 4 is now available to everyone for free, and all future updates will be free!

You can download the engine and use it for everything from game development, education, architecture, and visualization to VR, film and animation. When you ship a game or application, you pay a 5% royalty on gross revenue after the first $3,000 per product, per quarter. It’s a simple arrangement in which we succeed only when you succeed.

This is the complete technology we use at Epic when building our own games. It scales from indie projects to high-end blockbusters; it supports all the major platforms; and it includes 100% of the C++ source code. Our goal is to give you absolutely everything, so that you can do anything and be in control of your schedule and your destiny. Whatever you require to build and ship your game, you can find it in UE4, source it in the Marketplace, or build it yourself – and then share it with others.

Tim Sweeney, CEO of Epic Games

To download, register for your Epic Games account.

This is good news for developers. Hats off to Epic.

Via Slashdot.

 
Dateline: Wednesday, March 4th, 2015 at 7:19 pm - No Comments »
Author: the_handy_vandal
Categories: Epic Games, Unreal
 
 
 
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Artificial Intelligence Bests Humans At Classic Arcade Games

Sunday, March 1st, 2015 at 4:03 pm - No Comments »

“A computer learning on its own to play complicated video games like Breakout (see video below), in which you have to break down a wall by bouncing a ball off it. After exploring the game by playing it, the computer discovered advanced strategies that few humans know about, such as digging a hole to bounce the ball along the back side of the wall.”

- http://news.sciencemag.org/

Via Slashdot.

 
Dateline: Sunday, March 1st, 2015 at 4:03 pm - No Comments »
Author: the_handy_vandal
 
 
 
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A War Game About Civilian Survival

Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 at 10:56 am - No Comments »

This War of Mine is a war game about civilian survivors.

From 11 bit studios:

In This War Of Mine you do not play as an elite soldier, rather a group of civilians trying to survive in a besieged city; struggling with lack of food, medicine and constant danger from snipers and hostile scavengers.

This War of Mine is available on Steam.

Via Boing Boing.

 
Dateline: Tuesday, December 9th, 2014 at 10:56 am - No Comments »
Author: the_handy_vandal
Categories: Video Games, War
 
 
 
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